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Corner Brook judge calls reports completed on young offender 'disturbing reading'

123RF Stock Photo
123RF Stock Photo

A 14-year-old Corner Brook boy who assaulted and threatened to kill a 12-year-old girl has been sentenced to 10 months of secure custody and supervision.

In his written decision, Judge Wayne Gorman said the sentence is appropriate because of the seriousness of the offences committed by the boy, the need to protect the public from him, to deter him, to hold him accountable, to promote his long-term rehabilitation and to denounce his conduct.

The boy, whose identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty to the assault and uttering threats charge and to charges of a breach of an undertaking, two counts of damage to property, break and enter and being disguised with intent during an appearance in provincial court in Corner Brook last week.

He was sentenced by Gorman on Wednesday.

Gorman said the most serious of the offences committed by the boy was the assault.

He said it involved the luring of the girl to an abandoned building where she was the subject of a terrifying attack by the boy and a number of other young people.

He said a knife was held to her throat and chest, she was locked in a freezer and was choked by the boy until she lost consciousness.

His crimes started on March 13 when he damaged windows in two commercial buildings in the city.

The break and enter while disguised took place on Aug. 6 when the boy and a number of others broke into the Valley Mall, forcibly entered the lotto booth there and stole a large quantity of lottery tickets.

On Sept. 12 the boy and a number of classmates skipped school and went to an abandoned building near their school.

It was there that the 12-year-old girl was assaulted because the others felt she was a “rat.”

The girl was kicked several times and was told the building was a “good place to kill someone,” and her body would not be found.

On the way back to school the boy told her he would kill her if she told anyone what happened.

The boy was arrested on Sept. 22 and released on a recognizance on Sept. 24. He was arrested again on Oct. 1 and has been in custody since then.

Gorman said presentence, psychological and psychiatric reports completed for the court make for disturbing reading.

The presentence report describes the boy as an “out of control, violent, manipulative youth with no concerns for how his actions affect others around him or any regard for following court orders.”

The conclusion reached by the author of the report is that the only outcome that will provide any level of rehabilitation is a secure sentence.
“Without a period of secure custody being imposed (the boy) will likely continue to be involved with the Youth Justice System on a regular and escalating basis.”

The psychological report indicates the boy appears to have little empathy for the victim or remorse for the harm inflicted.

And the psychiatric report concluded that the assault was a preplanned, well-calculated, callous behaviour, not an impulsive action such as that which occurs with ADHD behaviours.

Both the Crown and defence suggested a period of six months of open custody and supervision, followed by a period of probation.

Gorman said it was not a joint submission.

“Based upon the reports I recently discussed, it is difficult to see how such a sentence will assist in (the boy’s) rehabilitation or protect the public from him. It appears obvious that (the boy) is not ready to be placed back into the community.”

At the end of submissions Gorman advised counsel he was considering imposing a secure custody and supervision order greater than six months.

In his decision Gorman breaks the sentence down into six months for the assault and four months for the uttering threat offence, to be served consecutively. It will be followed by two years of probation.

He said the sentence will provide structured supervision, but not for a time period that would be crushing and would encourage the boy’s rehabilitation by ensuring he has access to school in a supervised setting as well as counselling services for the period he is in custody and the period he is under supervision in the community.

He reduced the overall sentence by 30 days taking into consideration some of the 39 days he’s spent in custody.

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